Socks Are Underrated

Lloyd Hughes

A man who dons fash­ion­able hosiery tells a sto­ry, shows he is mind­ful of leav­ing great impres­sions and pays homage to fash­ion.  Such a man under­stands dress­ing well vs. being well dressed.  The intre­pid under­stand­ing comes with age and a whole­some under­stand­ing of one’s soul.  Bertram Coop­er knows pre­cise­ly what I mean…

Grant Har­ris, own­er and chief style con­sul­tant of Image Grant­ed, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based com­pa­ny, says “Peo­ple notice what you should be wearing—not the nice things you are wear­ing.  If you’re wear­ing a nice shirt and a crum­my tie, they’re going to notice the tie, not the shirt.”  Cour­tesy of ManofTheHouse.Com & Gin Ando.

Here’s my guide:

a) In warm temps mid-calf socks may work well but they don’t work for me as they descend, crum­ple and reveal a hairy leg.  Go for an over-the-calf, below-the-knee fit­ting.  This way you’ll nev­er feel shy to cross your legs like a dame while seat­ed.

b) A sock should have a flat, no-feel seam over the toes and qual­i­ty rib­bing on the band that hugs below-the-knee with tight com­fort.

c) When putting on the sock be very gen­tle so you don’t stretch parts that shouldn’t be stretched.  Care­ful how you maneu­ver around the heel.  You don’t want the stretch of fab­ric that extends from the ankle to the calf to inad­ver­tent­ly lose it’s flush fit­ting.  When that hap­pens you know it’s time to replen­ish your arse­nal.  In gen­er­al, replen­ish socks often.

d) As for “stand­by black, blue & grey hues, con­sid­er those for pro­fes­sion­al and board­room-style events only” says Har­ris.  Match­ing hosiery to trousers has long been con­sid­ered the norm but Har­ris keen­ly notes, “Men don’t real­ly have a lot of room to express them­selves but this is an area where a man can express him­self. I’m not say­ing be out­landish or get crazy, though.”  If you want to don socks that attract palsied, head-turn­er, grat­i­fy­ing looks vis­it Alfre­do Gon­za­les.

e) Socks made of a pre­dom­i­nant­ly nylon com­pos­ite will deprive your feet of ven­ti­la­tion and although they seem thin­ner & lighter your feet will feel dank & musty.  Har­ris observes, “Wool is the best mate­r­i­al on the whole.  It breathes bet­ter, it’s cool­er and it wicks more mois­ture.”  Depen­dent on the type, weave and thick­ness of the fibers (cash­mere, meri­no, etc.), wool is nat­u­ral­ly engi­neered for year round cli­mate & com­fort, insu­lat­ing from heat and cold.

Over a life­time feet log some­where in the vicin­i­ty of 70,000 miles and sweat 10–15 gal­lons year­ly of which 5–8 gal­lons are absorbed by socks.  Cot­ton socks are con­sid­ered a poor choice because their absorben­cy caus­es fibers to col­lapse against the skin as opposed to wool which wicks mois­ture away from the skin and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly traps dead air­space against the skin; cot­tons trapped per­spi­ra­tion in cold cli­mates can lead to hypother­mia.  Ever wear two lay­ers of cot­ton socks in the win­ter as a child and get sog­gy feet in the class­room that make your entire body shiv­er?  “Heat loss through wet cloth­ing can be 240 times that lost while wear­ing dry cloth­ing.”  (Facts cour­tesy of Foxsox.com)

f) Be mind­ful on how you wash wool blends etc.  Instruc­tions should come with your pur­chase and if not, inquire.  Wools can be worn more than once so long as you let them air out.

g) Socks should fit flush against your feet.  The heel sec­tion should fit the heel and no parts should leave room for wig­gle.

Don’t think folks don’t notice your hosiery.  “After a man’s wardrobe is near­ing an accept­able lev­el, it’s time to focus on refin­ing details” quips Har­ris and, “to peer into a man’s soul look at his socks”.  Next time you walk into your boss­es office and he asks you to remove your shoes you’ll know why.

Image Grant­ed gen­er­at­ed a list of sock man­u­fac­tur­ers (cat­e­go­rized by price) that may assist with your jour­ney in find­ing socks that suit you…

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Mid –
High –

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